Almond Coconut Bars

November 10, 2011 in Categories: , by

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This is the recipe that got me through Halloween this year without eating a single fun sized candy (for the first time since I had enough teeth to chew them!).  It is a modification of a recipe posted by Riki Shore at Three Squares.  I immediately liked how easy this recipe sounded.  At the time, I had also been meaning to try the more involved recipe for Chocolate Almond Joy Bars by Elena Amsterdam (I LOVE her blog www.elenaspantry.com).  So, I was inspired, but I also saw some ways I could adjust the recipe to reflect my newest information on nutrition.

This is a bit of an aside, but I need to talk about flax meal for a second.  The original recipe contained flax meal and I could see no reason for it.  In the olden days, I used to add flax meal to everything to “boost the omega-3 content”.  But, here’s the thing:  flax seed is NOT a good source of omega-3 fatty acids!  Flax contains high levels of ALA, a form of omega-3 that your liver has to convert to either EPA or DHA to be useful to your body.  Your liver is just not that efficient at doing this (maybe because it’s pretty busy as it is).  It’s much better to get your omega-3s from fish or omega-3 eggs (you’re basically letting the fish and chicken livers do the conversion for you).  I will write a more detailed post on omega-3 fatty acids soon.  Suffice it to say, they are vitally important, but ALA hardly counts.  Let me be clear though, I do love flax meal as an ingredient in grain free baking because it can really help hold something together.  But because the base of this bar is essentially raw, it isn’t the flax meal holding it together, but rather the coconut oil and almond butter.  For this reason too, these bars are best consumed right out of the fridge or room temperature (and just like the original recipe, these aren’t a great take-along treat).

I should also put in a bit of a note on coconut oil.  I will expound on the health benefits of this oil is a future post too, but I want to make sure you buy the right kind of coconut oil for this recipe.  You can find coconut oil either as “extra virgin” or “refined”.  Extra virgin coconut oil has a delicious coconut aroma when you open it and definitely has a distinctive flavor when you cook with it.  This flavor is key in this recipe.  My local grocery store only carries a naturally refined coconut oil (beware chemically refined oils!), which is still very healthy but has a much more neutral flavor.  If you are having trouble finding coconut oil of either variety, it’s pretty easy to get online.

A note about taste:  These bars are not very sweet (less sweet than the original recipe).  If you already eat a lowish carb paleo diet, these will probably be as addictive for you as they are for me (seriously, will not be making these again for a long time because I can’t help myself!).  My sugar taste buds are so sensitive now that these do taste deliciously sweet to me.  If you are new to paleolithic nutrition or are hoping that your children will eat these (mine both won’t), I suggest using 60-70% chocolate for the topping to add some more sweetness.  Keep in mind that adding more sweetness also means these should only be an occasional treat.

 Ingredients

1.    Melt coconut oil in microwave on low power or in a small saucepan on the stove on low heat.
2.    Line a 9×9” baking pan with wax paper.
3.    Pulse almonds in food processor until it resembles coarse sand (the goal is something a little coarser than almond meal).
4.    Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the chocolate to the food processor and pulse until it forms a textured paste (the bits of almond and coconut shouldn’t be too small).  I also finish with a good stir by hand to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated evenly.
5.    Pour into baking pan and smooth out to the corners.  Refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour.
6.    Melt chocolate either in microwave on low power on in a double boiler.  Drizzle over almond coconut base and spread with a spoon or rubber spatula until evenly coated.  Place bars back in refrigerator for approximately 5 minutes, until chocolate is solid but still a little soft (for ease of cutting).  Cut into bars and store in a plastic container in the fridge.

Do you need help finding any ingredients?  Check out  Important Pantry Items for the Paleo Baker.

Comments

Nice. I have a similar recipe, but yours looks much more refined and interesting. I will definitely try it.

I think I have to upscale my coconut a bit though. The safeway shredded unsweetened coconut is a bit lacking (!) and the Omega Nutrition organic coconut oil is relatively inexpensive and good for cooking, but I think it definitely lacks the coconut aroma this needs. It’s *too* clean! I splurged on some artisana oil today (and also the butter) in a moment of shopping weakness. This seems to be the right place for that kind of fancy stuff!

I’m also looking forward to your omega-3 post… hint hint ;)

I buy my coconut products super cheap from http://www.amazon.com (might not work for you in Canada). I like the Nature’s Way EVCO (Tropical Traditions brand is great oo, but pricier) and I like Let’s Do Organic dried coconut products. If you can get a better quality shaved coconut, you could pulse it through a blender or food processor and make you own desiccated coconut.

Omega-3 post is coming, but probably not for a couple of weeks. Lot’s more recipes in the queue first!

I just made these for the second time and they are awesome. My husband says that they came out even better the second time around. Definitely a keeper.
-Jennifer K.

wow this looks and sounds so delish. has anyone tried making it without the chocolate and molasses? i’ve found both sugar and chocolate in any form to be triggering for me. anything sweet like that will be hard for me to eat moderately.

No no no don’t replace with stevia. I ran out of vanilla one day & so I used a tablespoon of liquid stevia & I had to throw out the batch bc the stevia taste was so potent

Sugar is a major trigger around here. I made my own almond butter, with agave and light olive oil….and only used 1 TB agave inplace of molasses. Awesome to me, but I am gonna add the chocolate.

Looks like it would be a great home-made version of Coconut Secret, where I could control the amount of sugar. Right on! Thanks for the post!

I was wondering what the carb count is for this recipe. I am on a low-carb diet and have not reached my goal so I am closely counting my carbs. This looks like a yummy recipe.

I want to bring these with me on a business trip, may I ask whether they will go bad if they aren’t refrigerated? Which of the ingredients will go bad? Thank you!! :)

Oh dear I can’t have these in the house anymore! They are soooo good. I subbed cashew butter for the almond butter and used honey instead of molasses. I can’t wait to make them again!

Hi Sarah,

I was wondering if you could provide me with any academic studies that indicate what you mention about flax (“flax seed is NOT a good source of omega-3 fatty acids! Flax contains high levels of ALA, a form of omega-3 that your liver has to convert to either EPA or DHA to be useful to your body. Your liver is just not that efficient at doing this (maybe because it’s pretty busy as it is”) I have seen this a lot on paleo blogs and forums, but I have never seen a single academic citation to support it. Given your scientific background, I am assuming you have reviewed the literature before making your claim–could you offer the scientific backing (i.e., peer-reviewed articles) for this?

Thanks so much–I enjoy your blog!

OMG, these are amazing! Have been having 1 a day for the last week, and they are about as good as a chocolately sweet can get! Best recipe ever!!!!

I subbed cashews and cashew butter due to allergies. My chocolate did NOT stick to the bars, comes off in chips and crumbles. So sad because they taste delish.

These are delicious! I only used 1 tbsp honey and no chocolate and they are sweet enough.

Would replacing one cup of almonds with one cup of walnuts keep the same consistency?

This recipe ROCKS! My 2 year old and I are absolutely LOVING the bars. Since I am an avid peanut butter and chocolate lover, next time I’m going to try subbing peanuts and peanut butter and see how they turn out. :) THANKS!!!

Soooooooo good! Yet so addictive. Will be waiting to make them again until I have a house full of people to keep me from eating them all!

Love these but living in Florida and the heat can be tricky keeping them solid. Even on a nice pack in my lunch box they begin to get mushy after a short while.

OMG! I made these for a non-Paleo party I went to and everyone could not stop eating them! I used honey instead of molasses because it’s what I had on hand. These are so freakin good!!!

P.S. Love listening to the Paleo View every week!

I ran it through a recipe analyzer. I added an extra spoon or so of sweetener, but even with that, it was about 4200 calories, 150g carbs, 75g sugars for the entire recipe. I cut it into 6×6, so for 36 squares, each was about 115 calories, 4.2g carbs, 2.1g sugars.

I didn’t have whole almonds today, so I split the two cups between toasted hazelnuts and walnuts. OMG!!! My husband said it tasted like Almond Rocca. Also, I put a few cacao nibs and 100% cacao powder in the mix too. LOVE a delicious treat with no sugar!

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